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OZZY1231 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (2,022)
Posts: 36
12/2/13 12:16 A

as a nation several years ago we decided or the powers that be decided fat was bad and made you fat. since that time we as a nation have gotten fatter our diets getting rid of fats just made us fatter. all the low calorie products are making us fatter.
we need healthy fat for hair, skin and joints.
the real culprit is sugar plain white sugar and insulin spikes.
control insulin and you control your weight and your health

RUNUXTOO Posts: 136
12/1/13 7:08 P

Here is how I understand how it all works. This may be accurate or not.

When you eat Carbs, you can have slow and fast carbs. An apple has carbs but must be digested slowly to release the simple sugars (glucose) in a slow manner into the blood stream. However, simple sugars (corn syrup, fructose, etc) does not need to go through a long digestive process and goes to the blood much faster. The body detects glucose in the blood and releases insulin to 'burn' and 'store' the glucose. A high release in the blood for simple sugars will store (as fat) more glucose than a slow release. Thus you may gain 'fat'.

When you go on a low carb diet plan, you are denying your body the prime source for energy through digestion. It must look elsewhere for glucose. Thus the body will burn its stored glucose (fat). If you eat fat during this time, the body cannot use it directly from the digestive system. It must break it down to simple sugars first. So a low carb/high fat plan may actually cause a loss in weight.

These are all tricks on the body.

In the whole scheme of things, overweight is storage of energy in the form of fat. Plain and simple. Your body is an engine that needs fuel (glucose) to burn. The fuel source is food. As with any engine, the fuel can be converted to calories. That is nothing more than measuring the energy value. It all boils down to how much does your body burn in energy and how much energy you feed it. Thus by decreasing the input (eating) below what is needed, your body will burn some of its stored energy (fat).

That is why I feel that measuring calories is so important. Once I realized that I did not need 1800 calories (as the charts say), I decided that 1000-1200 calories would result in a loss of weight. It is working for me.

You started a nice dialog about foods and relationship to what you eat. It helps me understand better also.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
12/1/13 3:03 P

Thanks Runuxtoo

You are eating a lower fat diet, even if not 50/20/30, it works for you.

It is funny, because I lost 160 lbs eating high fat ( 60 %), and 1500 mg of cholesterol daily. I have congestive heart failure, and have seen a LOT of improvement, as well as have gotten off my diabetes, and cholesterol meds, eating this way.

So there are some healthy aspects on both/most ways of eating, which is why I started this thread.

As I near goal weight, I am looking for ways to up my carbohydrates, without regaining weight, or undo any of the health improvements. The only time I ate higher carb, I weighed 361, so I don't really know how to eat a healthy I don't intend to eat as high as 200 grams, but I think I can learn some healthy aspects of a higher carb diet, and I think others may benefit from discussing it. A LOT of people are struggling with the 50/20/30 diet, and maybe if they read something here, and make a small change, it will click for them, and they can become healthier.

I have cut down on the meat I am eating, and so my cholesterol is down some, to maybe 1200-1300 mg? Most of this comes from eggs cooked in butter, so if I ever switch to something else, my cholesterol would drop 1000 mg, but as long as my cholesterol stays below 150, I don't see the problem. It's down 80 points, since I started eating eggs.

Personally, I am looking how to incorporate more nuts, seeds, and beans into my diet, and then see if I can eat other higher carb foods as I near goal weight. I am trying to move from very low carb to maybe 100-120 grams a day, and hoping to do this without going back to the problems I had. This will allow more variety in my diet, if it works. For the purpose of this post though, I chose to just make it about a 50/20/30 diet, so we can have a pleasant discussion, instead of a fight.

I can cherry pick the lower carb versions of what people eat, and others can stick to the higher carb versions, and we can all learn more. I am moving towards more carbs anyways, so who better to explain higher carb foods than people who eat it, and have done well on it?

Edited by: RUSSELL_40 at: 12/1/2013 (15:04)
RUNUXTOO Posts: 136
12/1/13 12:21 P

I did not mean to confuse you about the type of diet but rather tell you that I am following a 'low cholesterol/low calorie' diet.

Take it from there. Here is my reasoning. Because I was Obese, I had plenty of food stored close to me, i.e. my own fat under my skin. So I decided to do a very low calorie diet. I do not exercise much and am somewhat inactive. I decided that 1000 to 1200 calories per day was right for me. ALSO, Low Cholesterol - I try to stay less than 30-50 mg of cholesterol per day.

When you use these terms (rules) then you decide what foods you want to eat. As you can see, almost all fat is eliminated from the diet because 1. high cholesterol and 2. high calories. Most 'flesh', i.e. meat, fish, seafood, chicken is eliminated because of high cholesterol.

For Instance, egg white are good. Only 17 calories and no cholesterol. Skim Milk has 10 mg of cholesterol so one glass is okay.

I focus on eating quality foods so that I get nourishment. I usually eat fruit and vegetable and some source of protein. I found out that if I eat too much carbohydrate then I will actually gain weight even when my calories are low. I do not know why but that happens to me.

I also reason this… I have stored a hugh quantity of 'fat' under my own skin. I do not eat much fat BUT I get what I need because my body will use my stored fat for what it needs. When I am at a normal weight I will be more liberal in eating fat.

So what is the name of this diet? I do not know. It works for me. Also, as you can see, it is very low fat with moderate carbohydrate.

I have been on this diet now since July 23, 2013. I am not tired, in good health, feel great and lost 45 lbs since then. I do not feel that I am starving either. I shall continue till my goal of normal BMI and drop a few more lbs for comfort zone. I was 234 lbs, now 189 lbs with a goal of 160 lbs.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
12/1/13 11:26 A

Thanks Jenni. I kind of wondered about the lima beans. I already eat kidney beans, so it wouldn't be much of a stretch. I may see if I can but some dry, and see if they are okay for me.

Okay. on to 3. allow for a variety of meats and protein foods.

I think almost every diet keeps us between 15-30 % protein, right. I just think the healthy part is getting enough protein to keep our muscle mass. So yes, it is healthy to have a variety of protein, and get enough protein, but I think this is one most of us get. If anything, I notice that people who don't prefer to get their protein from meat have more trouble eating enough protein, but if the goal is 20 % protein, you can do it without meat. I am always amazed to see how vegans, that do not eat cheese, or eggs, get enough protein, but it just takes a little extra effort.

As a low carber, trying to manipulate blood sugars, both for my diabetes, and to keep cravings at bay, I find that extra protein can be turned into glucose, if carbs are too low. I find that as I up my carbs, I have to drop my protein to 25% or less.

I think this kind of self-regulates. Not many of us eat over 30 % protein, since there aren't really any trigger foods that are protein ( that I know of ). So as long as we aren't low on protein, we will be in a healthy range.

A 50/20/30 diet would pretty much allow almost any protein, except the very highest fatty meats. Those would have to be for rarer occasions. Of course, some foods that have protein, but aren't a meat, egg, or cheese ( ex. greek yogurt ), may cause other issues, but not from the protein. These would be individual problems, that a person like me would have to address.

Personally, I think a carb source that is higher in protein would be better than something almost purely carb. Kidney beans for example have 25% protein, along with the carbs. I think we run into problems when we eat a lot of foods that are very low protein, without putting a protein on the plate next to them. Getting it as part of the carby food makes it easier to keep your protein levels up. At 25 % protein, it is built right into the bean. Same is true for a lot of dairy. These tend to be lower GI carb sources, because of the protein.

Here are a couple of links:


The second one is low carb, but eggs/dairy, beans ( incl. soy ), and nuts and seeds I thought were useful even on a 50/20/30 diet. Especially since it lists the amount of protein per serving. For low carbers,it may be a way to expand the variety of protein sources too. Meat is obvious, but as one of my fellow Sparkpeople told me, we never look to other sources of protein.

Edited by: RUSSELL_40 at: 12/1/2013 (11:36)
JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
Fitness Minutes: (86,286)
Posts: 2,489
12/1/13 8:43 A

Russell, if you did want to introduce yogurt to your diet you could always use plain as a condiment. You could do the full fat if that's your fancy. I find plain Greek yogurt tastes just like sour cream. I also mix it with avocado and use it as a mayo or guacamole for my seafood tacos. With my weight lifting, I'm always finding clever ways to sneak in extra protein, not that I have anything against sour cream.

Would you find that you would binge even on a savoury dish with oats? You can mix oats with egg, mushroom, onions, cheese and/or plain yogurt. Although rolled oats are slightly higher on the glycemic index, it's marginal so it really comes down to personal taste and time to cook here. I can make perfect rolled oats in the microwave in 2 mins, slightly longer than quick oats but it doesn't take all morning like steel-cut.

Here's a few savoury oatmeal recipes:

You could also use pearl barley, wild rice or bulgar in soups or stews. I've done a few recipes with quinoa but I can never seem to get mine quite right. I discovered couscous. I prefer couscous but it's more of a pasta. I found it's much easier to cook and the texture is better but quinoa is more of a whole grain and higher in protein and fiber. I'm not a big pasta person but I like it once in awhile for something different. You can fill the dish up with lots of veg, meat and nuts and a tiny bit of quinoa or couscous goes a long way.

I think maybe you misunderstood Dietitian Becky's post on lima beans. Beans are not a whole grain, rather a legume and are missing some of the key cancer and disease fighting components that are present in whole grains. Whole grains are higher in antioxidants. I believe she classified them with whole grains as a starchy carb. She was referring to MyPlate where the carb portion referred to a starchy carb, separate from fibrous veg/fruit. Of course you could always add beans to your diet, they're still a healthy carb choice.

Other ideas for whole grains include; buckwheat, spelt, millet, amaranth, teff, kumat, wheat berries, popcorn and flaxseed.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 12/1/2013 (09:14)
RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
12/1/13 1:09 A

I don't know about the fiber. I don't think anyone thinks it is bad for us. I guess since I don't have any of the issues ( irregularity, stomach problems, high LDL, high blood sugars, etc. ) , I don't think about it as much. I have upped my vegetable servings to over 10 a day, which bumps my fiber to 15-20 grams, but it is still low. Maybe if this 60 grams of carbs level works out okay, I will go up to 80 grams, and more like 15 servings of vegetables, which may get me to the 25 grams that would make my doctor squeal with delight ( he's a man ). Even with all my health benefits from low carb, the low fiber, and lack of ANY whole grains/ complex carbs, has been an issue we He still thinks if he is persistent, that one day I may try quinoa.

Would this " gut microbiata " also include the stuff in yogurt? Fruit yogurt tends to cause me cravings, but I find the plain yogurt to be too bland. It is supposed to help with digestion though.

Jenny - I have to laugh about the steel-cut oats. I had a co-worker spend 20 minutes describing how he slow-cooked his oats all night long, so they were perfect for breakfast. I was thinking that a lot of people are having shakes, bars, or just skipping breakfast due to time constraints, and the process of doing this would probably exclude it as an option for most people. While they may be healthy, they have to be tasty, and for most people, easy to make, and eat. All I could think as he finished was.. I could have cooked some oatmeal, and ate it just in the time you spent telling me the process.

As I get to within 30 lbs of my goal weight, I will be transitioning to Pre-Maintenace, and upping carbs, which is partially a reason for discussing this ( the other being that I love discussing nutrition ). I find I can have beans a few times a week, but the jump from very low carb to even 80 grams seems HUGE. I'm now eating 10 servings of vegetables, just to eat 60 grams. I think I will have to eat some whole grains to get to 80-100 grams a day, and doubt I can eat 18 servings of vegetables to get My concern is which one to eat. I may try quinoa, since my doctor seems to recommend it so highly, but I just got into the 100's, and don't want to go off on a binge, so I am cautious. Vegetables are safe for me. Maybe some lima beans, since I like them, and they supposedly have some whole grain in them. Plus a cup has 14 g of fiber.

Am I wrong about this ( lima beans )? I can't remember where I read it.

Edited by: RUSSELL_40 at: 12/1/2013 (01:18)
ALGEBRAGIRL Posts: 1,925
11/30/13 1:05 P

I'm a fiber fan, too. I have no problem eating more than 40 grams in a day, mainly because of some relatively low-calorie white pita bread we use in our house. I also bake bread and load it up with fiber.

In addition to regularity, the fiber that is a regular part of your diet affects the environment in the gut. I've been collecting NCBI studies for a few years on 'gut microbiota' It's really interesting to me.

Here's something recent in a very active field of research:
(the PDF is free to download - see the Wiley icon in the upper right hand corner)

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
Fitness Minutes: (86,286)
Posts: 2,489
11/30/13 8:50 A

Well fiber helps with more than just regularity; it also helps reduce LDL, reduces the risk of certain types of cancers, helps with satiety, it can help normalize blood glucose and insulin levels and can help to improve insulin resistance, reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity.

Yes, grains by themselves are a bland food, food manufacteurers try to spice them up. Whole grains have a tougher texture and that's why we see them being stripped down to make them more pleasing. People in general, tend to prefer softer food. If given a choice most people are going to opt for quick oats over chewy, tough, steel-cut or a soft, sweet white bread over a grainy, tough and bland bread (I personally prefer grainy bread! My husband has only recently been warming up to a soft whole wheat bread over white bread.) I agree it has become a tricky affair in the supermarket to ensure you are getting the healthiest whole grains and not some dumbed down version like "whole grain goldfish crackers"-junk food type. You can't be an ill-informed shopper these days.

Whole grains also contain valuable antioxidants not found in fruits and vegetables, as well as B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron and fiber and can be an even better source of these key micronutrients.

As far as your brother and his oatmeal. They do strip the fiber from the commercial brands and they do have a good reason, it's more pleasing and softer. I don't know if you've ever tried steel-cut (full-on whole grain oatmeal) but I would compare it to eating gravel. Even I don't take it that far and choose an in between variety, Old fashioned oats which still contain the whole grain but are flattened (also called "rolled oats"), few people realize but they are actually virtually at par nutritional-wise to steel cut.

I consider most cereal... even my Kashi, to be a dumbed down and tampered with-grain. I won't binge on bread or oats. I will binge on cereal, I have a poor relationship with cereal and used to eat it by the bowl full and couldn't stop... mmmm honey nut cheerios. I find Kashi is the one cereal that I don't do this with. I don't "test" my blood sugar levels but I definitely notice a sugar high from anything from honey nut cheerios and down the list. I don't get this from Kashi even though it tends to be relatively high in sugar at 9g. I wonder if it's because of the 9g of fiber it contains, my belly is so full after that and perhaps it acts as some kind of buffer against insulin spikes? I simply couldn't eat any more even if I wanted to! I consider my Kashi cereal to be part of my dessert in the evening before bed. I tend to be a night time eater who can't sleep unless I have a full belly. I make a dessert with Greek yogurt, almond milk, pudding powder, fruit, natural crunchy peanut butter and Kashi on top before I turn in each night. It keeps me full all the way to noon the following day and satisfied. I've found it keeps me off the late night munchies on less healthy stuff like sweets, chocolate or cookies. It's definitely been a helpful weight management tool and I believe a good part of the reason is the fiber content.

Side note; I tend to get A LOT of fiber in my diet, especially for a woman my size. About 30-35g even though I don't eat a lot of grains.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 11/30/2013 (09:15)
RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
11/29/13 11:19 P

Bunny - I find this very interesting... The grain that I do eat, I feel does contribute to my healthy diet. It provides fuel, fibre and micronutrients.

Obviously it is fuel ( carbs ), and it does have fiber ( or fibre ), and many micronutrients. We have to get our fuel from somewhere, and carbs are easily digestible. As a low carber, I get my fuel from fat, but we carbs are a source of fuel, so it is necessary to get energy from somewhere, right? I do see a lot of people who do not eat the 5-7 servings a day. Would it be healthier on this diet to eat more servings? Do whole grains break down slower, and keep us from burning through our meals so quickly?

I think both of you are eating healthy, and seeing results, but for those not eating all their whole grains, what are they eating in place of it? If it is MORE veggies, it may not be a problem. I do wonder sometimes if the problem we have with bread is because it is not good bread that we get at the grocer's. Bread at a bakery doesn't seem to be an issue for me. It's expensive though, so I just choose not to eat bread. I think the $1.99 loaf is unhealthy.

Fiber is very interesting. Many low carbers have trouble due to lack of fiber at the start. The get plenty as they move up the carb ladder. I asked my doctor why we need fiber, and all he said was " Regularity ". I do get 10-20 grams now a day, but for me, this wasn't a problem when I was on Atkins Induction, as long as I stayed over 60 % fat. Is there any other reason why we need fiber.

Micronutrients! We all can read the side of a cereal box, and say " Holy moly , thats a lot of every vitamin/mineral! ". Are these amounts naturally occurring though? I know a pepper has 100% vitamin C naturally, but does anyone believe that whole grains, while being healthy, don't really have as much micronutrients as the cereal we eat? Maybe it does. If it is added though, then why did they do it for cereal? Did they boost the nutrition in cereal, because they wanted us to eat more of it? Could they do that with other foods?

It seems that we can get a source of fuel , regularity ( fiber ), and more micronutrients from eating whole grains. While I can do the same with high fat, and lots of vegetables, it is obviously a lot easier by just eating some whole grains if you do not have issues with them.

One thing that I do have to wonder, is why so many people do not eat more of them. My only guess is that they don't taste very good, and so we have to put things on them ( like sugar ), which might offset some, or most of the benefits. Huge differences between Fruity Pebbles, and Oat Bran. Of course Fruity Pebbles are delicious, and Oat Bran tastes like cardboard, but I think we would agree that Fruity Pebbles are dessert in a box.

I do think that one of the reasons we have problems with whole grain, is the wide variety. There is a lot of food marked whole grain, and we need to actually find out in what forms our doctors want us to be eating this. My brother eats oatmeal daily, and low carb the 2 other meals. I eat eggs, and tend to think of oatmeal as a trigger food. For him though, he has lost almost 30 lbs in the past 3 weeks, so I doubt the oatmeal is a problem for him. Plus it is plain, low sugar, high fiber oatmeal. I do have to wonder once again.. which version is actually what you would get from eating regular oatmeal. I'm thinking they add sugar to the normal brand, and 50 % sugar is closer to natural, but wonder if they are adding fiber to his oatmeal, or stripping it from the regular stuff. I can't see a reason to remove fiber, so if they can add fiber, why can't they add fiber to other foods?

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
11/29/13 6:06 P

I actually eat very little grain when I think about it. A couple of tablespoons of oatmeal in my yogurt. Maybe a chunk of good bread every now and then. A small serving of rice or pasta (1/2-3/4 cup) every few days. Maybe some barley in a beef-barley soup. That's about it!

The grain that I do eat, I feel does contribute to my healthy diet. It provides fuel, fibre and micronutrients. The reason I don't eat more of it has nothing to do with any fear that it may be unhealthy, nor any negative personal experience with it - it's all been about food preferences and "getting the most enjoyment and satiation out of my 1200 calories." To keep myself full I eat more veg (volume!!) and less carbs (pasta, rice, bread - such small servings for the same calories!). And also I just happen to prefer exciting-veggies over bland white starch. I never noticed any bloating or sensitivities to it when I used to eat larger quantities; I notice no "improvement" now that it's been sidelined to a minor component in my diet.

But of course, lots of people are sensitive to gluten. And if one determines they are sensitive to it, or worse yet discovers they have celiacs (as is the case with my sis-in-law), grains are a no-go for pretty obvious reasons.

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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11/29/13 5:36 P

I don't eat the current recommended grain servings, probably about half, 2-3 servings a day. Not that I'm worried about them having a negative effect on my health but because a) I'm not a big fan and b) I much prefer veg.

I can't speak for anyone else's experiences but I don't find I become bloated (or suffer any other negative effects) from eating grains, per say. I *do* find I bloat up when I eat a lot of fiber in one sitting. If I have a slice of bread or oatmeal... no effect. If I eat 1/3 cup of Kashi cereal that's high in fiber, probably 3x as much as a slice of bread, I do bloat up. However, I get the same effect from eating a lot of fibrous veg (especially broccoli!) or too many black bean brownies. :/ That would lead me to believe that it isn't the grains effecting me adversely, it would be too much fiber.

I don't deny that there are people with gluten intolerances or people who are more sensitive to grains. I'm sensitive to lactose but can still have it in small amounts such is in baking/cooking without it effecting me negatively. Dairy such as cheese and yogurt have no effect on me, strangely but drinking a cup of milk is like a death sentence and would put me writhing in pain on the couch for the next couple hours. I wouldn't say that means dairy is unhealthy across the board for everyone. It seems we all have certain foods our bodies simply won't tolerate as well as in other people.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 11/29/2013 (18:13)
RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
11/29/13 3:49 P

Patti - For someone, almost any diet is health, in that they achieve a healthy weight, and aren't sick. There are plenty of people who are healthy following a 50/20/30 diet.

On to the list of healthy aspects. Now we can discuss them. I think we all agree on

1. allow for a variety of fruits and veggies

So lets move on to

2. allow for a variety of whole grains.

Are all whole grains healthy? Should we eat more of a certain kind? Are there some people who should limit, or eliminate them? Some people have read Wheat Belly, and gotten great results from eliminating wheat. If whole grains are healthy, why do people see improvements in health by cutting wheat? Can we explain this, or is it just a problem a small group of people have, and the majority have no problem with whole grains?

11/29/13 2:49 P

nothing healthy about that you got it backward... high fat low carb

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
11/28/13 9:24 P

Loves - to clear things up, I defined what I meant in an earlier post, so we could avoid arguing labels. I have to call the diet something, so I choose high carb/low fat. That is just so we can talk about it, since so many people keep throwing around other diets on this thread. If you want.. from now on I will call it THE DIET. I do not mean to say that the diet is too low in fat, or too high in carbs. I just have to call it something.

I agree that the average American isn't following the diet correctly. You got me there. I guess what I meant was most of us consider ourselves to be following THE DIET. I can't really debate the health of what people eat when they cheat on a diet now, can I? Even if we were discussing low carb, we couldn't say low carb was unhealthy because the people who ate a lb of bread on it failed. We have to discuss what is healthy IF you DO follow the diet correctly. If we put aside our labels, and just agree that we are discussing a 50/20/30 diet, we can debate the benefits of the diet, instead of the name we use to let another person know which diet we are talking about. If you have a name you wish for me to call it, please let me know. The name isn't important.

Becky - Your list is great. I think we can start there, and go through each of them one at a time. After Thanksgiving though. It's a holiday. Hope everyone is having a great day, with family. I am not having turkey today. Right now, I am cooking up some venison chili, with lots of tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, and kidney beans. So I just came in for the few minutes it takes to cook the venison burger.

11/28/13 8:30 A

LOVES - I guess that would depend on your definition of HCLF. For me 45-65% of a diet coming from carbs is high carb and 20-35% is low fat. Becky are the nutrition guidelines recommended here at Spark considered HCLF by the ADA?

Canadians and I'll assume Americans as well, get slightly more than half of their energy from simple carbohydrates. The average Canadian drinks 100L of cola a year, which is 11,320 grams of sugar a year! (From my foundations of personal training book.). I think everyone can agree that that is bad.

My question is why do people drink so much soda and eat so many simple sugars? Why is is so hard to eat the healthy ones that Jenni mentioned?

I think it's in part due to messed up taste buds, I believe that is the scientific term, we are so used to eating foods with over the top flavours that when we eat real food it seems to have no flavour.

Edited by: JUSTEATREALFOOD at: 11/28/2013 (08:31)
JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
Fitness Minutes: (86,286)
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11/28/13 8:00 A

And that would be another one... the emphasis on the *type* of carbs one chooses; more whole grains, (veg, which has been done to death already), legumes, lentils, etc. basically more slow release carbs or high fiber carbs. As well as carbs that are richer in vitamins and minerals such as fruit and dairy over sweets. More of these type of carbs means less carbs coming from empty, nutrient-devoid sources such as pastries, cakes, white flour, cookies, candy, etc. They would be carbs our bodies can use more efficiently for energy and cause less/lower insulin spikes while providing us with more vitamins and minerals.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 11/28/2013 (08:04)
LOVE4KITTIES Posts: 4,690
11/27/13 9:47 P

"Most Americans eat high carb/low fat diet, following a doctor's advice."

I would say that most Americans eat a diet high in fat and refined carbohydrates. Most Americans eat a lot of fast food and it's very high in both fat and refined carbs. Also, the vast majority of the "junk" foods that you can buy in the stores (which also make up a larger portion of the average person's diet than they should) are high in both fat and refined carbs. So, I disagree with you that most people eat high carb/low fat and I also disagree with you that most people follow their doctor's advice about what to eat.

Also, no one is telling the average American to eat high carb/low fat (so there's no reason to debate whether it's healthy or not as it's not what's recommended for most people). The recommended diet (by doctors, dietitians and or government) contains MODERATE amounts of both carbohydrates and fat.

Edited by: LOVE4KITTIES at: 11/27/2013 (22:02)
11/27/13 9:12 P

As a Registered Dietitian I can plan a lower fat diet that would promote health. I can also plan a lower fat diet that would not promote health.

A lower fat diet (notice, I do not promote extremely low fat diets) would:
1. allow for a variety of fruits and veggies
2. allow for a variety of whole grains
3. allow for a variety of meats and protein foods
4. allow for a variety of dairy products
5. allow adequate fat to not only meet nutritional needs but provide the flavor and cooking techniques to bring out the best flavors possible in the foods mentioned above.
6. allow for such a variety of foods that it could easily meet the food preference, budget, food availability, cultural and religious food preferences of a majority of people.
7. Foods that one may think are off-limits, can easily fit when used in the correct portion and within a moderation approach. No need to feel guilt or denial.
8. because of this variety one would be so happy with the food choices, satisfied with the flavors and tastes that they would easily be able to use such a diet for years and years to come. They would not feel deprived.
9. This long term usage of such an eating plan will promote health by decreasing risk for diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, weight maintenance,----the 4 biggies! It would help to decrease risk for osteoporosis, renal disease, GI problem.

How do those top 9 reasons sound?

Your SP Registered Dietitian

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
11/27/13 8:43 P

Thanks JERF. I was just wondering. It is interesting.

Thanks JENNILACEY. Unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats are a reason for better health.
I do have to wonder at all the people who are eating very high saturated fat diets and are healthy. Could saturated fats be healthy absent most carbs, and be more unhealthy on a low fat diet? This is something we can discuss.

Bunnykicks - I am trying to get my point across, so bear with me. I started by stating vegetables were good. I am looking for more reasons that low fat would be healthy, and hoping to discuss those aspects of the diet. I am not looking for what we should ELIMINATE.

If someone eats low fat, and is super healthy, they eat different things than another low fat dieter, who is 300 lbs ( probably ). I can look at this from two perspectives. 1 ) I can do what you did, and look at what the obese individual ate, and point out what they ate that was UNHEALTHY. By exploring these, we can all learn what NOT to eat.

Or 2 ) we could focus on what the super healthy low fat dieter ate, and point out one by one, what they ate that was so HEALTHY. Doing this , we can learn what is HEALTHY.

It is simply a choice of whether we want to be negative or positive. Most Americans eat high carb/low fat diet, following a doctor's advice. Some are failing, while others thrive. Shouldn't we go through the individual traits that those successful dieters follow, and see if by following those things, other low fat dieters can improve there success rate.

I don't understand why breaking down a diet, that will determine your health, is so hard. If you are planning to eat this way, shouldn't you first go through every aspect, and ask why this will improve your health? We should all know 10-20 things about low fat, that are given as reasons why the diet is so healthy.

This thread was put up days ago, but it seems that no one can post a reason why low fat is healthy. If not, then why are they following it? Doesn't that seem strange? We have vegetables, and now Jenni came up with unsaturated fats are healthier than saturated ones.

Other than that, no one has been willing to state ONE thing that is healthy about low fat, and then discuss it. Not a paragraph of positive and negative aspects of all diets.

One sole thing, all by itself, that only pertains to low fat, not any other diet. Maybe this will make it easier:

One thing that makes low fat healthy is ______. Fill in the blank. We should have dozens of answers, and be able to discuss them one at a time, and determine which ones are actually causing better health. Then, when someone asks why to eat low fat, we could give them positive answers as to why they should eat this way, and not what they should cut out.

I think we all have ideas as to what IS healthy, but obviously, we aren't doing something right.I am not debating whether vegetables are unhealthy, just that it is not the sole reason for better health. There are other reasons, and I hope to explore those.. one at a time. If you do not find this interesting, or can't explain why it is healthy, I understand.

I am not trying to be controversial. I am not looking to argue. I am not looking to read lists of what I should do to be healthy on a low fat diet. I am actually looking for an in-depth discussion of what makes low fat healthy.

Hopefully this clears up what I am hoping to achieve with this thread.

Edited by: RUSSELL_40 at: 11/27/2013 (20:45)
11/27/13 2:49 P

Russell - When I make beans for my husband and I do soak them overnight before preparing them. I make a big batch so I can freeze single serve portions for him (my vegetarian) and I don't do it very often because it's kind of a pain.

I'm not sure how beneficial they are without the soaking. I know they are more digestible when soaked. I can barely eat a soaked bean without getting gas, canned or just boiled beans are not worth the discomfort.

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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11/27/13 2:04 P

Alright Russell, now that I've recovered with a good night sleep, I'll give your question another go.

One of the emphasis on low fat would be to ensure that most of those fats are coming from unsaturated fat sources. Particularly, monounsaturated fats like fish/fish oil, avocado, olives/olive oil, seeds/seed oils, avocado, nuts/nut butters, etc. ie; heart healthy fats.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 11/27/2013 (14:07)
BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
11/27/13 12:53 P

Right. If you eat a terrible diet, your macronutrient breakdown will not help you at all.

I don't think anyone who responded with a version of "vegetables make a diet healthy" meant to say or imply that a low-fat diet would be rendered "healthy" by the mere addition of a "side of veg" to an otherwise crappy diet!

However, a low-fat (or low-carb, for that matter) diet that had a FOCUS on "vegetables" likely would meet some basic criteria to be considered "healthy."

You are asking what would make a low-fat diet "healthy". I explained in my initial response to this thread, that there is nothing inherent in "low fat" (nor in "low carb", nor in the "Spark Ranges" or the "WW points goals" or "Paleo" etc. etc. etc. for that matter) that makes a diet "healthy." You can have a good diet, or a terrible diet, on any kind of eating plan. Because you can meet your macronutrient goals via the consumption of good/heathy foods (lean protein, fruit and veg, complex carbs, "whole" foods/"clean" eating).... or via the consumption of crap. There are low-fat junk foods and low-carb junk foods, right? If you go "low fat" but eat the junk foods - it's not healthy. If you go "low carb" but eat the junk foods - it's not healthy. If you do one or the other while focusing on quality foods - it's probably healthy.

I really don't know how else to express the point I'm trying to make.

Edited by: BUNNYKICKS at: 11/27/2013 (13:17)
RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
11/27/13 12:25 P

Because if you eat a terrible diet, and a side of vegetables, you won't be healthy Bunnykicks.

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
11/27/13 12:07 P

"There are millions of people who are healthy on low fat, and it can't just be because they eat vegetables."

Why not?

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
11/27/13 11:53 A

Thanks JERF.. I still don't think I would be willing to soak a bean for even an hour just so I could eat I guess I am lazy. Hopefully, they are still beneficial to my health.

RUNUXTOO - I read about 10 diets that you have done. Could you clarify which diet you are doing right now, and for how long? I am happy to hear that you are doing well, but really trying to focus on what causes a high carb/low fat diet to be healthy.

If you are following this type of diet, then all I am really looking for is one thing that is a cause of the diet being healthy.

We all agree that vegetables are healthy, and that on a low fat diet you would get your energy from carbs, but most everything else seems to be about why low fat has failed. There are millions of people who are healthy on low fat, and it can't just be because they eat vegetables.There have to be other things that cause these people to be healthy on a low fat diet.

Maybe I missed it in your post, but I couldn't even tell which diet you are following, and while your health improved, what you thought made the most difference. Eliminating bad food always helps, but that is just what you DIDN'T eat.

If I was to say.. What is one thing about low fat that I should follow if I want to improve my health? What would your answer be?

If you are on a different plan, I apologize.

11/26/13 9:16 P

RE: The importance of soaking legumes and grains before consuming.

"Science has demonstrated the wisdom of these careful preparation methods as all grains and legumes contain phytic acid, an organic acid that blocks mineral absorption in the intestinal tract. Phytic acid is neutralized in as little as 7 hours of soaking in water with small amounts of an acidic medium such as lemon juice [picture of lemons] or cider vinegar [picture of cider vinegar]. Soaking also neutralizes enzyme inhibitors present in the hulls of all seeds [picture of wheat kernels] and adds beneficial enzymes which increase the amount of nutrients present - especially the B vitamins."

RUNUXTOO Posts: 136
11/26/13 7:01 P

Well Russell,
Just my 2 cents worth…
Why low fat is working for me.
I have been struggling with weight for a long time. I have been obese for a long time also. I tried many different plans also. The Cleveland Cabbage Soup Diet, Low Carb, Low Cal, Low Fat etc. However, all the time, my cholesterol was high and I was on meds to get it down. I never had it lower than 230. Triglycerides were off the chart - over 600. BP rising. These diets were not getting to the real issue -My Health!
I was (if not) in the stages of Metabolic Syndrome. I was just waiting for my doc to tell me I needed oral diabetic meds because my sugar levels were high. That did not come.
I knew if I continued that I might stroke out or have a heart attack with high Cholesterol and Triglycerides. During the LOW CARB plan, I did achieve better levels BUT could not continue on the low carb life style. The levels were not below 200 either.
About 5 years ago, I read about a Dr Dean Ornish cardiac reversal plan. I looked into this plan. It is the ONLY plan that has been proven to reverse cardiac problems. Even though I did not have any issue with my heart, the plan would prevent future issues.
In a nut shell, Dr Dean Ornish introduces a lifestyle that embraces Low Cholesterol Foods, Exercise and Relaxation techniques.
I never went through the program but read about it to incorporate this into my life.
The Low Cholesterol Eating WAS a real challenge. I could not consume more than 15 mg of cholesterol per day. That is nearly impossible for me. I did not understand how to do that and then read some more about the plan. I learned that just about any 'flesh' food contains cholesterol and just about any plant food only contained little or none. In other words a Vegetarian Life Style. I was NOT anywhere near that, then. I had to give up meat, pork, fish, shellfish and chicken.
I even questioned why I could not have skinless fat free chicken breast - because it exceeded my daily cholesterol allowance. This also eliminated almost all oils except for canola oil.
As you can imagine, I lost about 20 lbs without even trying. I was happy about that. A year later, my tests now read: cholesterol was 139 and my triglycerides was 102. That was remarkable and the first time I achieved normal levels. This vegetarian lifestyle convinced me it is good for me.
So this actually proved to me - without a doubt that low fat is good for me. I also reasoned that since I was obese, I did not really give up fats. I used those that I carried around in my body.
Now for a side line. I began to eat more carbs - pasta, sugars etc, then I normally would. I found myself subbing carbs for flesh (meats). You can guess what happened. I found the 20 lbs that I lost and gained more. However, at least my Cholesterol was great. My triglycerides began to rise.
I placed myself on a caloric reduction program. I promised myself that I would only eat what I needed to live on. I reduced my caloric intake to 1000-1200 cals per day. That was drastic. I know and was warned not to do that. I HAD to do that for myself. I was forced to choose only healthy foods or essentially starve myself. I learned that healthy foods are mainly vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, soy, water and some fiber.
I also found out that as long as I eat the healthy foods, I am really satisfied and not hungry afterwards.
And, to let you know, my cholesterol has not been over 150 or my triglycerides over 200 for over 5 years. Low fat (low cholesterol) and now Low Carb - works. At least it works for me. I proved that to myself.
In conclusion,
I found that those diet people were right.

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
11/26/13 6:38 P

I do not know if canned beans are healthy or unhealthy. I try to eat as clean as I can, which for me means that I have prepared the food as much as possible, as opposed to others preparing the food. That is the reason I only use dried legumes.

Soaking beans (overnight or the quick soak method), is only for dried beans. Dried split peas and lentils do not need any kind of soaking.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
11/26/13 5:53 P

So canned beans are not healthy? What exactly does soaking them do to cause better absorption, or render the beans harmless to our bodies ?

I digest beans quite well, and have no adverse reaction to them. Can I boil beans for 2 minutes if they are canned, and gain the benefits of this " power soak "? Or are they no good once they are canned?

I think most people would quit eating beans if they thought they needed 62 minutes to prepare them, much less overnight. I personally, just rinse off the fluid in the can, and add them to tomatoes, mushrooms, and onion, and boil in the fluid from the canned mushrooms, and tomatoes for maybe 5-10 minutes. I then add in the ground beef, and seasoning, that I was cooking at the same time, and drained. This takes me about 20-25 minutes total.

I wonder about the healthier aspect of eating soaked beans, versus the thought that they might just stop eating beans altogether. While it may be healthier, I don't think I would spend that long preparing beans. Are unprepared beans still healthy, just less so.. or are they unhealthy? If they are still healthy if you just heat and eat, then it might be more important to actually eat them, than worry about preparing them a certain way.

To be healthy, it has to be eaten. Since people are skipping meals, and using replacement shakes, and smoothies to save time.. is it really practical to say " soak beans overnight " ? How many people actually do that?

If it is a necessary step for beans to be healthy, then I think the way many people eat beans would be deemed unhealthy by those who think it necessary.. just by judging the size of the canned beans section of my local

I will go out on a limb, and say pork n' beans, and Boston baked beans might not be as healthy as pinto or kidney beans.

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
11/26/13 5:26 P

I only make beans, split peas and lentils from dry, never canned....but that's just my personal preference.

For beans that have to be pre-soaked (overnight), I do the quick soak method.

From Bon Appétit:

Presoaking beans overnight not only cuts down on cooking time by up to 25 percent, it also helps the beans cook evenly without splitting. It’s easy, too (if you remember to do it). Still, we prefer the “power soak” method. Not only is it faster than soaking beans overnight, it also breaks down more of the complex sugars that can make beans hard to digest. The process is simple: Place beans in a pot and cover with water by three inches. Bring to a boil and simmer briskly for two minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for one hour. Drain. Your beans will be ready to use in your favorite recipes.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
11/26/13 5:10 P

Jenni - high/low carbs, or high /low fat is kind of relative. If your protein stays relatively constant, then on higher carb days, your fat would be a bit lower, and vice versa. The only difference would be at what point, you are burning carbs, or fat. If you have no issues with cravings, then this switch happens without your knowledge, and you use both. As long as you aren't worried about labels, who cares what your macro ratios are, as long as it helps you maintain a healthy weight, and overall health. Where does one go from low fat to low carb? That is really only important in a debate. In life, all you should care about is what works best for you. If that is 30 % carbs instead of 10 %, or 50%, who cares what it would be labeled, right? As long as you are getting adequate protein to maintain muscle mass, then you will split the rest, and how you do so, will depend on personal preference, and how you react to either higher carbs, or higher fat. It really doesn't matter, since we have healthy people at all macro ranges. What matters more, is what people eat to get to those macro percentages. So our focus should be what the healthy people following a diet eat to be healthy on that diet. What applies to good health in general? If one believes a low fat diet can be healthy.. we all know someone who is healthy on low fat, what do they do differently than the overweight people on the diet? What do they do that is so much healthier? It isn't the macronutrient percentage itself, since we have healthy and unhealthy people at all macronutrient ranges.

JERF - I have no idea about preparation of beans. I eat them canned ( No Salt ), and just wash the fluid off, and toss them in with beef, or venison, tomatoes, and onions. The days I do so, it pushes my carb to 10-12 %, but hasn't affected my weight loss, or made me crave more carbs, so I think it is a great way to increase my carbs, and fiber. I personally think they are healthy, and one of the highest carb foods that I have been able to add into my diet.

For a low fat dieter, those benefits would be good too, as well as getting 14 grams of protein, with just 1 gram of fat, per cup of beans. Getting protein from meat and eggs tends to up fat %. Beans are a good way to get enough protein, without all the fat. The benefits to a low fat dieter are obvious.

What preparation should someone eating beans do, to make sure the beans are " absorbed properly, and not harm the body " ? Are they no good once canned ?

11/26/13 11:47 A

Carbohydrate type - Beans - healthy or not?

I believe beans can play in important role in health as they have many essential nutrients. My problem with beans is that I believe they need to be properly prepared in order to be absorbed properly and not harm the body and most canned beans are not prepared properly.

11/26/13 11:42 A

I wouldn't think so Jenni. You said you aim to eat a diet full of real whole foods and I believe the quality of those carbs and fats are much more important for long term health then exact ratios.

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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11/26/13 10:51 A

Makes perfect sense. So would I be at risk for being considered high carbs/high fat diet? I added to my question a bit, not sure if you caught it before responding.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 11/26/2013 (10:55)
RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
11/26/13 10:48 A

Your body can burn carbs or fat for energy. It burns carbs first, so if you eat carbs, you will burn them up. Bodyfat is just stored energy, whether eaten as carbs, or fat. Excess glucose is turned into triglyceride and stored for later usage.When you no longer have dietary carbs to burn, you will transition to burning fat. This is natural. Cavemen didn't burn fat when they had nuts seeds, berries, and plants to eat, and use for energy. They burned those carbs, and only when carbs are absent, or calories are too low, do we tap that storage for energy.

So you burn both. The only thing low carb is doing, is avoiding a lot of carbs, so you burn body fat for energy. Neither fat or carbs are superior. They are just two different ways to fuel your body. Where we run into problems, is when we eat too much fat and carbs combined ( too much energy ).. we store it.. on our hips, butt, and stomach. As long as energy is adequate, from carbs, OR fat, you will have enough energy, which is why you have energy when eating carbs, AND when eating fat. If you aren't eating fat, you need carbs, and vice versa. A low carb dieter, can't eat low fat, and a low fat dieter can't eat low carb. They would run out of energy.

Hope that helps.

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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11/26/13 10:12 A

Sorry if I'm being a bit daft here; so even though I wouldn't be in ketosis, I'd still be taking my energy from dietary fats? I'm just confused because I happen to fall into a weird range for macros, not being high carb but not being high fat either. It's been something I've been wondering for some time. I think it is relative to your question because I believe the main reason for the 45%-65% carb suggestion is to provide your body with adequate energy. At what point would energy levels become affected? At what point are you getting sufficient dietary fat to fuel your body?

Like I said, I think it's quality of food on either diet that makes it healthy eating. If you can get energy from carbs and you can get energy from fat I don't think the macros really matter except for those like yourself who have trouble with carbs (diabetes, insulin resistance, etc.) I would think that it would be healthier for you (others like you) to get your energy from fats. As long as you are getting the micronutrients your body requires. Assuming the diets are being followed as intended I'm thinking the only real difference between would be where your energy is coming from? In your case a source that isn't going to exacerbate your symptoms and for others who do well on higher carbs, a source that is the body's preferred energy source.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 11/26/2013 (10:48)
RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
11/26/13 9:42 A

I was kind of looking more for a statement saying one thing was healthy.

It seems that no one actually thinks anything in general makes low fat ( for lack of a better term ) healthy. This may be understandable, and I do agree that healthy aspects would be true among any diet. I am just looking to understand what is why some low fat dieters are healthy, and others aren't. I choose to look for the positive.. why they are healthy. I think we know many reasons why low fat can be unhealthy, but that just ends up as low fat bashing.

I do think that the idea of 50 % of you plate being veggies is different than 50 % being carbs.. I eat a lot of vegetables, but not 10 % carbs. Almost all of my carbs are vegetables. So carbs, and vegetables are two different things, and two different arguments Leksi.

Are we saying that low fat is healthy, because 50 % carb is healthy? Obviously that depends on what those carbs consist of. I think we would struggle to eat 50 % of our calories from

As far as carbs being a source of energy. This is true. Carbs provide energy. However, so does fat. I eat 60 % fat personally, and under 10 % carbs, and have plenty of energy.

Still, 50 % carbs, if not an issue for the individual isn't necessarily bad or good. Some people may find 50 % carb bad, but for those who burn carbs efficiently, this may be very healthy. We could discuss the types of carbs that make up that 50 %, and maybe come up with ways to make a 50 % carb diet healthier, but those are separate arguments, just like bad carbs. There are many types of carbs.

Leksi - I would say that 50 % is not healthy in and of itself, even if it gives us energy. We would need to dissect what was eaten to get to 50 %.. the fruit and veggies are good ( most of them ). Is corn a veggie, or a grain? How much carbs do we get from dairy, nuts and seeds, or beans?

What we do know is that on a low fat diet, no one is getting into ketosis, so energy is going to be derived from carbs. If fat goes down, carbs go up. So if we are discussing low fat, then we would have to look at the healthier carbs to reach 50 %. What carbs do we all agree improve health? If 50 % carbs give us the energy we need on a low fat diet, it still doesn't mean that certain carbs are healthy, right?

Personally, I think a vegan would be able to help any low fat dieter clear up what kinds of healthy carbs they should be eating. If we toss out reducing carbs for this thread, then we need to find healthy carbs, since we ARE going to eat them on this type of diet.

Jenni - I think the point Leksi was trying to make, is that we consume body fat ( stored energy ) during weight loss on low carb. So if we are burning fat, we have what we eat, and what is stored that we can mobilize. When you are fat, you can burn body fat with reckless abandon, but when women dip below 20 %, and guys below 10 %, where do you get the fat, if you are burning it. It has to be dietary fat, since you have less body fat to burn.. make sense? It doesn't necessarily mean we will have less energy on low carb, if we have less body fat, it just means you will no longer have a huge supply from your body. You can make this up by increasing dietary fat % also, so if you do that, there is no drop in energy. You do have to pay attention to that though.

On a high carb diet you are eating your energy, so if you need more energy, you eat more. It is less work to keep energy levels up.

Edited by: RUSSELL_40 at: 11/26/2013 (09:50)
JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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11/26/13 9:14 A

That's interesting Leksipatsy, I hadn't heard that your BF% affects how many carbs you should eat.

I can only go by personal experience here but my carbs tend to be slightly lower than what's recommended. I don't eat much grain or beans, most of my carbs come from veg, fruit and dairy. I'm at around 18-20% body fat and have boundless energy. I can sleep 6 hours, work at my 8 hour factory job on my feet all day, come home and workout for an hour, an hour and a half, clean the house, make lunches, give my kids baths, make dinner, etc. and not sit down until around 8-9pm at night (after being awake since 4:30am!) and I'm rarely ever tired. Before I started working out and eating better, I was tired all the time.

It's curious you brought this up because it's not like my carbs are low enough to be in ketosis, not even close but they certainly wouldn't be considered high either. Perhaps Russell has some insight?

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 11/26/2013 (09:19)
11/26/13 8:51 A

This article has some good talking points on the subject:

According to the article, carbohydrates provide energy, protect your health, and help control your weight. It's easy to just look at the macro 50% carbs and be like wow so half of what I eat should be potatoes? No :) Actually its quite easy to have 50% carbs in your diet from just eating vegetables, whole grains, and beans.

I think it goes bad when people get their carbs from sugar, added sugar, and more sugar, lol, plus refined grains like white bread, etc.

Also, when your body is getting low on body fat, you need to eat carbs in order to fuel your activities & exercise. I'm still at 25% so I don't have that problem yet but hope that someday I will :)

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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11/26/13 8:32 A

Hmmm... I may have a difficult time with this one because the longer I've been aiming to eat healthier, the less and less importance I put on macros, low fat vs. high fat, low carb vs. high carb. I've stopped tracking on Spark for the last few months and have just been trying to get adequate protein for muscle repair, after that... my other two macros fall where they lie. I'm focusing more on the quality of the food I eat over what macro breakdown they put me in. Carbs vs. fat tends to be pretty balanced with one another. I usually fall at around 40% carbs and 35% fats.

I am not overly strict with my nutrition but then, I don't have any health concerns. I tend to be more of a fitness-focused person. To me, the most important rule of eating healthy is to eat as close to as nature intended my food; minimal added sugar/sodium, minimally refined/processed, minimal added ingredients, using natural flavour enhancers over man-made condiments.

There are people who just don't make healthy nutrition an important part of their lives. I don't believe it has anything to do with dietary recommendations and macro breakdowns. These people are not following any recommendations. It has nothing to do with *what* is being recommended. I know because I used to be one of these people. I didn't care that health organizations recommended I eat 45-65% carbs, I barely knew what a carb was. I knew that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup cereal was delicious. If you had told me it was healthier to eat high fat foods and less carbs, I'd still had eaten RPBC cereal in big heaping bowls.

I think anyone following nearly *any* macro breakdown or recommendations can eat healthy as long as they care about what they are putting in their mouth, have researched healthy eating and know their way around getting the adequate micronutrients they require if that diet involves deviating from the current dietary recommendations.

I'm not sure if I answered your question correctly. It is early in the morning and my kids ensured I only got 4 hours of sleep after working all night.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
11/26/13 6:57 A

Let me clarify high carb/low fat.. 50 % carb , 30% of less fat. Basically, what is suggested we eat.

That isn't a negative, just a way to define the diet. I could say the standard American diet, but I think what is intended, and what we eat is not the same thing.

Since most of us are on this diet, I am hoping someone can put forth something besides veggies that is healthy about this diet, and explain in a few short sentences, WHY it is healthy.

I think we have a few ideas of what is healthy, and what is not, but I don't think anyone actually sits down, and discusses them.. one by one. We all have a list of things we think are healthy on whatever diet we are on, but I think it varies from person to person. Some people just think the diet they are on is healthy, without even knowing why, and with no results to prove that this is so.

I am not looking for negatives about any diets, only positives. I am hoping to focus solely on the diet a majority of Americans eat, because it will be less of a squabble ( I hope ).

So if you think about this diet, can you name one thing that is healthy ( not a list ), and explain why it is healthy? I really think Americans are confused about what is healthy about the high carb/low fat diet. Trying to post all the unhealthy aspects of what we do eat, AND all of the healthy things about the diet in one post, just makes a confusing mess.

If we discuss them one at a time, maybe someone will be helped out. Yes, healthy aspects of this diet, might help people on any diet, but even more importantly, they might help people on the diet we are discussing. High carb/ low fat HAS been implemented poorly, but the original version of the diet was meant to be healthy.

It should be pretty simple to go down through the healthy aspects of the diet, one item at a time, and discuss each. What is healthy, why is it healthy, how has it been misconstrued that might make it unhealthy as we currently eat it. It isn't enough to say something is healthy. We need to know why, and if it is healthy, are we following the original intent, or making an unhealthy aspect of the diet unhealthy based on how we implement it.

People just come in here and list everything they KNOW about diet in huge posts that no one will ever read, because it has 40 points. The problem is, that we obviously DON'T know what is healthy, or aren't doing it. A majority of Americans eat this diet, and are overweight. Instead of focusing on what is unhealthy, I was hoping to stay positive, and discuss the healthy aspects, individually, so that others might use that as a resource, and we could have a nice, enjoyable conversation about DIET & NUTRITION, instead of a fight.

That is the name of this message board, but we rarely actually discuss diet or nutrition, except to say our way is better than another way, or point out flaws in someone else's plan.

To discuss diet and nutrition, we need to actually look at each part SEPARATELY, and discuss them one at a time.

BUNNYKICKS - I appreciate that you tried to list some healthy aspects of the diet, and I hope you don't get mad at me for using you as an example, but I am just trying to illustrate my point. Your last paragraph... I think the fresh fruits and veggies would all be agreed upon, so stating that is fine, but ... sensible portion sizes, and sufficient protein are arbitrary goals, and for someone starting the diet today, leaves them with a new chore.. finding out what you mean.

For sufficient protein, one could use the percentages Coach Tanya provided ( thanks ), and if we use that ( 10-35 % ), then why is that healthy? Why that amount? Is it important what types of protein we eat to reach this percentage?

Maybe I am weird, because I actually want to understand why something is healthy, instead of just listing what IS healthy. I just think it would benefit people to hear why we should eat X amount of protein, and why that is the proper amount, as well as the sources of those proteins, so that they don't just hear 20 % protein, and eat Mcnuggets to get to 20 %. I am not disagreeing with anything on your list, just wondering if we could explore further than just saying something is healthy.

I think there are 1000's of threads where people tell people what is healthy, but rarely do we explain WHY it is healthy. Or how to achieve that goal.

In my example, I explained about the vitamins, and minerals of the veggies, and how much we should be eating when we sit down to a meal, for example. Some of us more frequent posters know that 50% of our plate should be fresh vegetables, but I think it is important to say, instead of just assuming everyone knows what is healthy, or why, or how much. Yes, there will be some variations, but we do have some goals. If we think vegetables are healthy, but have a Tbsp. at each meal, we still aren't getting enough veggies. 50 % is the goal, and sometimes we will eat 45%, or 55 %, of our plate that way, but I think it is probably closer to 20 % for many people. Just saying " vegetables are healthy ", isn't good enough.

I am hoping for a discussion, not help with my diet, or a challenge.

Edited by: RUSSELL_40 at: 11/26/2013 (06:59)
11/25/13 10:10 P

I am HFLC by SP's standards. I get 90% of my carbs from vegetables and fruit. I am an athlete and have massive amounts of energy eating this way. I agree with the previous posters that vegetables are certainly healthy across the wide spectrum of "diets" out there and everyone should try to eat lots of them. Eating Real Food is so important, read those ingredients, if your Great Grandmother couldn't have made it then steer clear!

What I've been wondering lately...

Is it even possible to get 50% of ones daily calories eating only the healthiest carbs (veggies and fruits) and omitting the sugars and grains?

I eat my 10+ servings of veg and fruit a day and I consistently fall 100-150g short on carbs daily. (50% would be about 250g a day for me.)

11/25/13 9:38 P

I've eaten too low fat and started to have my hair fall out(ww)! Spark's recommendations are much healthier IMHO. I've been incorporating 2% dairy healthy oils and small amounts of butter, etc. and feel much better. I thing like everything moderation is key.

And obviously, eat less (or no) processed foods and more vegetables!

I think we can also agree that lowfat "diet" foods that replace fat with sugar are just evil. Just staying away from processed foods in General is a good idea. Also low fat cheese is gross. I used to cook with fat free "cheese" and it was gross how it would met like plastic! Was I eating plastic?!?!? Rofl

I'm not a labeled low carber but I eat few grainy carbs per day (today I had 1/3 c oatmeal, 1 cup whole wheat pasta, popcorn and 1/8 c quinoa. As opposed to the 2 fruits and 7 vegetables! )

11/25/13 8:24 P

The discussions/arguments are a result of situational awareness, or lack thereof.

If you're gonna lay on the couch with a remote, then low carb should certainly be considered.

If you're gonna hump a back pack and all the associated accoutrements to a tree stand tomorrow (5 Kcal), then a few carbs, even HGI well placed, are warranted.

It's deer season, I'm running high carb.

Edited by: INTOTHENEW at: 11/25/2013 (20:34)
RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
Posts: 1,379
11/25/13 8:08 P

Low-fat instrinsically means little to none of most of the unhealthy things that are in a typical American diet. Little to no snack food of any kind, sweet or salty. Little to no fast food. Little to no pizza, ice cream, oversized burgers, huge plates of fettucini alfredo, and so on. It would be hard to eat truly low on the fat scale and include any of those items on a regular basis. And all those things that are on the low-carb hit-list as well, although for different reasons. So to the extent that anyone believes cutting out those food items makes one healthier, there is no dietary conflict at all. Lots of vegetables is also on both healthy-eating lists; again no conflict. (And I'll note that the "moderate" plan espoused by SP and actually aimed for by most "traditional" dieters these days on sites like this is again the same. Less junk food, more vegetables.)

The only difference is grains and some of the starchier vegetables (and leaner meats, sometimes) being a significant source of calories, versus fattier meats, more oils, maybe greater amounts of fatty vegetable content like nuts and avocados and so on (but maybe not).

This is why the whole argument irritates me so much. Every side of the nutrition debate can agree on less junk food and more vegetables. Why is all the mental energy going to something else?

Edited by: RENATARUNS at: 11/25/2013 (20:10)
BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
11/25/13 6:49 P

I don't think there is anything inherently "healthy" or "healthier" about any specific ratio-of-macronutrients. It's more about the quality of food that you choose.

You can eat a low fat diet that consists of lean proteins, lots of veg, complex carbs - (a "healthy" approach).... or you can eat a low fat diet that is laden with "lo-fat" junk-food items (basically swapping out the fatty Chips Ahoy for the lower-fat but just as "bad for you" Snackwells). Not so healthy! You can eat a low-carb diet that consists mainly of meat/animal fats, lots of veg and minimal starchy carbs (a "healthy" approach) or you can eat a low-carb diet of bacon, cheese and mayonnaise, swimming in sodium and with nary a vegetable in sight... Not so healthy! You can eat a "middle of the road Spark-style" diet based on whole foods and home cooking (probably "healthy") or you can hit the same calorie and macronutrient targets on a reduced-portion diet of fast food and other processed "convenience" foods.. (probably not so much!)

Regardless of "macronutrient breakdown" - I would say ALL "healthy" diets should incorporate lots of fresh (or frozen minimally-processed) fruits and vegetables, sensible portion sizes, sufficient protein, more of the complex and less of the refined/starchy carbs, and little-to-no "junk" foods. Beyond that, individuals can customize their food intake to work with their tastes, cultural preferences, food availability and health needs. We're a very adaptive species when it comes to the variety of foods/diets we can thrive on.

TONKA14 Posts: 4,947
11/25/13 4:18 P

Based on years of research that examined the relationship between nutrient intake and disease prevention, generally-accepted ranges have been established for carbohydrates, fat and protein intake. These healthy ranges also help to ensure that a person is getting a sufficient intake of other essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. The recommendations are:

45% to 65% of calories eaten should come from carbohydrates.
20% to 35% of calories eaten should come from fat.
10% to 35% of calories eaten should come from protein.

The SparkDiet takes a middle-of-the-road approach with these ranges. Our specific breakdown is approximately 50% carbohydrates, 30% fat and 20% protein, all of which fall into the healthy ranges above.

Each person has to find the right combination of these recommendations that are right for them, their medical situation and their activity level. There is no one size fits all just guard rails that help people stay within the lines for health.

Coach Tanya

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
11/25/13 2:46 P

I think this one is obvious.. veggies are awesome. They have B vitamins, antioxidants, as well as being loaded with other vitamins and minerals that are essential to us.

I don't think this is controversial, so I figured I would get this one out of the way.

Where I think we went wrong, is we don't eat enough veggies. Do we all eat 50 % of our plate as veggies? No. We could all eat more veggies to be healthy.Another problem is that we have added sauces, and salt to our veggies to enhance flavor, which is just raising BP, and adding extra calories. It kind of defeats the purpose of eating vegetables. These are the negatives, and why it hasn't worked as well as intended.

The positive is that the original intent of the low fat diet is healthy. We should eat a plate with 50% covered with vegetables. That works for any diet. It is a positive aspect of low fat that we can all follow to become healthier.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
11/25/13 2:38 P

I just want to start by stating a few things:

1 ) I personally eat low carb, but this thread has nothing to do with that. I am not looking to debate IF low fat is healthy, but instead hoping to focus on what is GOOD about it.

2 ) We may disagree on whether some aspects are healthy/unhealthy, but I think in the end we will mostly agree on healthy aspects of this way of eating. My goal is to focus on these things, and stay positive.

3 ) Please state what is healthy, and why it IS healthy, so that we can see that it is healthy. If you disagree with it being healthy, please be civil in your response.

The reason for me doing this thread is that every low carb thread devolves into a fight. Even if we try to discuss small parts of it. I believe ALL diets have healthy aspects. For this, I hope we can all agree that many people are healthy on a low fat diet. By focusing on the positive, not only can we have a nicer dialogue, but also explore what is healthy. A healthy trait for low fat dieters, can most times be transferred to other diets, and benefit ALL dieters. Last of all, we can compare what is supposed to be eaten on this diet, versus what we DO eat, and show what has happened to make the SAD different, and more unhealthy than the original intent was.

Hopefully we can show this difference by posting what is good, and we can then see how that differs, instead of leading with a negative, and ignoring the positive. I will do the first post, and I hope I can show you what I mean, which might be better than explaining it.

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